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Renzo Piano Talks Architecture and Discusses 'The Shard' with BBC News

00:00 - 18 February, 2013

BBC’s Sarah Montague interviews Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind London’s most controversial and newest skyscraper: The Shard. Prior to the interview,  Montague spotted Piano blending into the crowd during the opening of the 310-meter skyscraper “spying” on the onlookers. When asked about this moment, Piano revealed the great advice he received from the prominent Italian film director Roberto Rossellini upon the completion of the Pompidou Center in Paris: “You do not look at the building, you look at the people looking at the building.” It was during this moment that Piano observed “surprise” and “wonder, but not fear” amongst the onlookers - a reaction he seemed to be content with.

Despite Piano’s attempt to refrain from controversy, it is hard to avoid when your design intends to celebrate a “shift in society.” Change tends to stir mixed emotions and spark debate. However, being part of the “human adventure” as an architect is what Piano finds most rewarding. He states: “You don’t change the world as an architect, but you celebrate the change of the world.”

The Menil Collection selected to receive AIA Twenty-five Year Award

01:00 - 16 January, 2013
© Paul Hester
© Paul Hester

The Menil Collection Houston, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has been selected for the 2013 AIA Twenty-five Year Award. Recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, the Twenty-five Year Award is conferred on a building that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years as an embodiment of architectural excellence. Projects must demonstrate excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards. The award will be presented this June at the AIA National Convention in Denver.

More on The Menil Collection after the break.

Tower of London Competition 1890

19:00 - 12 December, 2012
© Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London compiled and edited by Fred. C. Lynde
© Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London compiled and edited by Fred. C. Lynde

While the Eiffel Tower was negatively received at first for its utilitarian appearance, it soon became a major attraction for Paris, France in the late 19th century. It represented structural ingenuity and innovation and soon became a major feat, rising to 300 meters of7,500 tons of steel and iron. Just three years after its unveiling, London sponsored a competition for its own version of the tower in 1890. The Tower Company, Limited collected 68 designs, all variations of the design of the Eiffel Tower. Proposals were submitted from the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Turkey and Australia.  Many of the designs are bizarre interpretations of utilitarian structures, following the aesthetics of the Eiffel Tower, only bigger and taller.

Join us after the break for more on the story of the Tower of London.

Renzo Piano is not an architect

19:00 - 9 October, 2012
Renzo Piano © Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Renzo Piano © Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Well, according to the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB) he isn’t.

Last week, BDOnline received an email from the ARB asking them to refrain from calling Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind an architect, since “they are not registered with the ARB they are not entitled to be described as such”.

The statement said: “BD referred to two eminent individuals as architects – neither of whom are on the UK register. This is one of a number of peripheral areas, and architects often contact us when they are concerned about the use of the title ‘architect’ in the press although no breach of the legislation in fact occurs.”

AD Interviews: Renzo Piano - Part II

16:12 - 17 September, 2012

Part I – Part II – Part III

Piano's Progress

09:00 - 14 September, 2012
© Renzo Piano Building Workshop
© Renzo Piano Building Workshop

In honor of Renzo Piano’s 75th (gasp!) birthday, we offer an update on his latest projects.  The septuagenarian has several large-scale works in various stages of construction scattered across the world, and has celebrated the opening of others within this past year.  While we have been continuously following the conceptualization, construction and completion of the Shard, Renzo’s talent is sweeping across major cities both in the States and Europe, including: a satellite museum in New York; a cultural hub for Athens; an urban cultural catalyst for Santander, Spain; an interior renovation for Los Angeles; a recently completed museum wing for Boston; plus, a redeveloped brownfield site turned science center for Trento, Italy.  No matter the project location, scale, or program, Piano’s  ability to craft an architecture with a sense of lightness, strong attention to detail and overall aesthetic elegance sets him in a very particular category of the profession.

So, here’s to a happy 75th and 75 more years of great architecture, Renzo!

More after the break.

In Progress: MUSE Museum of Science / Renzo Piano

06:00 - 9 August, 2012
© RPBW - Stefano Goldberg
© RPBW - Stefano Goldberg

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop Location: Trento, Italy Architect: Renzo Piano Project Year: 2012 Photographs: Courtesy of RPBW, RPBW – Stefano Goldberg, RPBW – Paolo Pelanda, Colombo Costruzioni – Alessandro Gadutti, RPBW – Cristiano Zaccaria

© RPBW - Stefano Goldberg © RPBW - Stefano Goldberg © RPBW - Paolo Pelanda © Colombo Costruzioni - Alessandro Gadutti +14

Does the Shard Need Time?

09:00 - 9 July, 2012

The disappointment generated by the Shard’s opening laser light show is not so surprising for a project that has been grounded in controversy for over a decade.  Since 2000, when Piano sketched his initial vision upon meeting developer Irvine Sellar, the project has consistently met obstacles such as English Heritage and the financial crash of 2007.   But, the biggest opposition of the tower has been its height.  English Heritage claimed that the tower, formerly known as London Bridge Tower, would “tear through historic London like a shard of glass” (ironically, coining the new name of the tower), and Piano counters that, “The best architecture takes time to be understood…I would prefer people to judge it not now. Judge it in 10 years’ time.”

Leading us to wonder…does the Shard simply need time to be fully appreciated?

The Shard's Opening Celebration

09:00 - 5 July, 2012

Tonight, Renzo Piano’s Shard will officially celebrate its opening complete with an amazing light show.  A dozen lasers and thirty searchlights will beam streams of light across the city, creating a network between 15 other significant landmarks in London, such as the Gherkin, London Eye, Tate Modern, and Tower Bridge.  (So, if you are in London, don’t miss the event at 10.15 this evening, and be sure to share some photos with us!)

Capping out at 310 meters, the Shard has become the tallest building in London, as well as the entire European Union.  We have been following the history of Renzo Piano’s creation, and although laden with financial troubles, a change in developers,  and criticism from Londoners, the project has finally reached completion.

More about the history of the tower after the break.

Update: Botín Center / Renzo Piano

16:58 - 19 June, 2012
© Renzo Piano
© Renzo Piano

A week ago we told you about the Botín Center, Renzo Piano’s first major project in Spain. We also featured some preliminar models of the project and more information on this building, which will have the largest private foundation in Spain invest over 150 million USD. We now have more official images, including some drawings and sketches. Check them out after the break.

Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali to design the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

13:31 - 30 May, 2012

Award-winning architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali will design the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced today. “Renzo’s track record of creating iconic cultural landmarks combined with Zoltan’s success in transforming historically-significant buildings is a perfect marriage for a museum that celebrates the history and the future of the movies,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO.

Update: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center / Renzo Piano

15:00 - 16 January, 2012

ArchDaily is once again updating you on the progress of  The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center designed by Renzo Piano.  We showed you initial plans for the building back in 2009.  Since then, we have been provided with more detail on the development of the project, which we continue to share with you.  As previously mentioned, the center will be a sustainable arts, education, and recreation complex that will contribute to the community of Athens, financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Plans for this building began five years ago but it was not until December 2011 that preparatory excavation work finally began.  Construction is scheduled for Spring 2012 and according to the foundation website:

The beginning of the construction phase comes at a very critical juncture in modern Greek history and brings a much-needed sense of optimism and hope, as well as a whole range of significant economic benefits to the country. Approximately €1 billion of total economic stimulus will be derived from the upfront commitment in the construction of the SNFCC, while 1,500 to 2,400 people will be employed each year to support SNFCC construction and all related industries.

More after the break.

Update: The Shard / Renzo Piano

09:00 - 6 January, 2012

We have been covering Renzo Piano’s Shard for London throughout its design and construction process.  Slated to become the tallest building in Europe, the Shard will make a remarkable impression of the London skyline, dwarfing most of the metropolis as the 1000ft+ tower streamlines toward the sky.   The tower has been constructed in an era of economic uncertainty, and although its height alludes confidence and a feeling of power, as it takes shape, many question the motives behind the project and its future implications on the city.

More about the Shard after the break.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Expansion / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

09:00 - 8 August, 2011

Opening in 2012, the $118 million steel, glass, and copper-clad expansion to Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by Renzo Piano Building Workshop will more than double the size of the current facility. Included in the project are a new entrance, music hall, gallery space, and other amenities for an institution that has remained largely unaltered since opening in 1903.

Architecture City Guide: Amsterdam

10:20 - 3 August, 2011
Courtesy of Flickr CC License / llamazotti. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Courtesy of Flickr CC License / llamazotti. Used under Creative Commons

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Amsterdam. With its numerous canals, Renaissance architecture, and bike friendly culture, it is hard not to fall in love with Amsterdam. Also, if you love modern or contemporary architecture one could hardly argue against making this city the first stop on a tour of Europe. Our list of 24 buildings hardly does justice to this amazing city, but it will certainly give those less familiar with the city a starting point. We will be adding to our list in the near future, as we didn’t come close to incorporating all our readers’ suggestions. In the meantime add more of your favorites to the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Amsterdam list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Paris

13:00 - 13 July, 2011
Courtesy of <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>Wikimedia</a> Commons / Benh Lieu Song
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Benh Lieu Song

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Paris. For centuries Paris has been the laboratory where innovative architects and artists have come to test their ideas. This has created a city that has bit of everything. Where the architecture of some cities seems to undergo phases of punctuated equilibrium, Paris’s architectural fossil record gives an impression of gradualism; all the missing links are there. This makes it easy to trace the origins of the most contemporary ideas throughout history. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere. If you look around you kind find the design’s inspiration running through the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Rocco, Neo-Classical, Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Architecture. Seen in another context, many of Paris’s buildings might seem out of place, but the bones of this city support the newest iterations on the oldest and most profound questions. The 24 contemporary designs that comprise our list probably should not be viewed outside of this context, even though that is the stated goal of some of the designs.

As the most visited city in the world and arguably the capital of culture, it is impossible to capture the essence of Paris in 24 modern/contemporary designs. Our readers supplied us with great suggestions, and we really appreciate the help and use of their photographs. The list is far from complete and we realize that many iconic buildings are not yet on the list. We will be adding to it in the near feature, so please add more in the comments section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Paris list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: London

15:00 - 6 July, 2011
Courtesy of <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>Wikimedia</a> Commons / Diliff
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Diliff

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to London. This is our second stop in Europe, and once again I had to capitulate and double the number of buildings that we normally feature. We could not feature all of the suggestions, and will be adding to the list in the near future. We really appreciate those readers who offered their suggestions and the use of their pictures to make up this list.

Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” As home to a long tradition of kings and queens, the Royal Society, and the roots of the Industrial Revolution, it is not surprising that there is a rich tension and collaboration between the historic and contemporary architecture in London. This reflects a city and culture that has a strong history of celebrating the past while also moving forward. Conflicts often emerge, as the goals of one side clash with those of the other. This relationship, however, is why I find walking the streets of London so appealing - those beautiful moments when history and progress collide.

Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help. We encourage you to add more of your favorites in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: London list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Chicago

10:17 - 26 January, 2011

We are headed to the windy city of Chicago for this weeks Architecture City Guide series.  Jam packed with architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, here are our 12 recommendations if you are visiting Chicago.  Head to the comment section and share your recommendations for additional buildings to include on our list!

The Architecture City Guide: Chicago list and corresponding map after the break!